Solution providers at CMP Channel Group's Fast Growth 100 conference Tuesday said that vendors such as Novell and Hewlett-Packard, along with technologies such as Linux, identity management, and virtualization are driving dramatic sales growth for them.
Novacoast CTO Adam Gray said a bet on identity management six years ago and a tight partnership with Novell paid off in sales that have shot up from $8.5 million in 2005 to an estimated $16 million in 2007. "We sat down six years ago, saw the need for identity management and in the last two to three years it really exploded for us," he said. "The Novell partnership has been crucial in driving that growth."Approximately 35 percent of Novacoast's business is now identity management-based solutions, he said.
Novacoast President and CEO Paul Anderson said his company's geographic expansion acquiring three companies in the last 18 months has also paid off in faster growth with new offices in Cincinatti, Philadelphia and Portland. "That gives us a broader customer base to push our services," he said. "Also a big differentiator for us is taking our engineers and getting them focused on one specific technology that allows them to be the best they can be."
One of the keys to Novacoast's success has also been a tight partnership with Novell, which has relied on Novacoast as part of the vendor's partner bench program. That Novell initiative tags key partners as go to players for subcontracting services. "We get used by Novell for our tactical ability to close deals quickly and upsell customers," said Gray. "We are really good at taking a deal that is stuck and getting it closed."
Down the road, Gray sees orchestration of virtual machines as a critical fast growth technology sector. He said a lot of companies have built up hundreds and thousands of virtualized servers which are ripe to be optimized further for cost savings and more productivity.
Rob Hart, the business development director for Data Technique, an Overland Park, Kansas solution provider, also attributed his company's fast growth to identity management, and a tight partnership with Novell. Data Technique's sales have shot up from $1 million three years ago to $4.5 million.
"More and more people are using open source technology even if it is not a cornerstone of a project," said Hart. "If you use open source in conjunction with a core software vendor and technology like Novell and identity management or SIF (School Interoperability Framework) you can differentiate yourself."
Hart sees the Linux open source momentum continuing with wider possible adoption of Linux on the desktop. "It has already taken place on the backend," he said. "As a professional services company we are hopeful Linux and open source on the desktop is going to be a growth opportunity like identity management."
Data Technique has already been successful deploying a wireless-based Linux open source desktop solution for an 800-student private school in St. Louis. That project was green lighted in part because of significant cost savings verus a Microsoft solution.
Hart said he sees a big fast growth opportunity doing head-to-head comparisons with Microsoft's Vista. "The Vista hardware requirements are cost prohibitive when you have desktops and laptops out there that are past schedule on a refresh already," he said. "The fact that companies that already have Linux in house and are looking at a Vista refresh may fuel Linux desktop adoption."
Willie Hawileh, chief operating officer for IT Partners Consulting, a Phoenix, Ariz. solution provider, said a tight partnership with Hewlett Packard has been a big fast growth driver. "HP is a great partner," he said. "HP is the leader in blade technology and has great storage products." Hawileh said HP's double down on loyal partners has helped propel sales growth from $9 million in 2004 to $21 million in 2006. "Their support they provide us is invaluable in helping us win deals," he said. "They bend over backwards to make sure we can win competitive deals against Dell, IBM, EMC and NetApp. HP has really made an investment in loyalty and relationship."